Somewhere in the middle
Tom Lawton is the epitome of the great British inventor and is possibly Britain's loveliest one too. He lives in rural Wiltshire with his young family where he strives to bring uplifting and long lasting solutions to some of the world's problems.
During his final year at University in 1998 Tom wanted to wake people up with a smile by letting them choose how, so he invented WakeYoo, the recordable alarm clock, which he licensed and manufactured, selling over 250,000 units through all major UK high street retailers and winning fans across the nation because 'we all have more imagination than a beep beep'.
'A genius idea. I love it' - Terry Wogan
Next up, inspired by his first trip to India in 2001 and restricted by the blinkered frame of his regular camera, Tom wanted to enable people to capture and share life in rich panoramic detail, so he went about pioneering mobile 360° video with his invention BubbleScope, which later became BubblePix - winning awards and critical acclaim globally with an innovative smart phone accessory, App and social media platform. Loved by Apple's design team and the favourite gadget of Jamie Oliver.
'This is the best mobile phone accessory we have seen in a decade' - Head of Mobile, Samsung
Concerned about the environmental crisis and passionate about doing something positive about it, Tom developed a wind-powered outdoor light called Firewinder, which creates a spiral of light to mesmerise and delight, encouraging people to embrace the beauty of renewable energy. Tom won the Green Dot Award in Los Angeles for his excellence in environmental design in 2009.
'One of the most exciting eco-inventions of the decade' - The Telegraph
No stranger to bright lights himself, Tom has appeared on television and in the media; a regular commentator about inventions on BBC radio and starring as the judge of CBBC's My Genius Idea and, with his co-star and son Barney, in his own primetime Channel 4 TV show 'Tom's Fantastic Floating Home' which was aired in the summer of 2013.
Not letting himself get too distracted, Tom's feet have remained firmly on the ground, he since founded Positively Human with his invention Million Mile Light. As a runner, and after the death of a friend who was hit by a car on a poorly lit rural road, he empathised with the vulnerability many pedestrians feel in close proximity to ever congested roads, so he invented a wearable, battery-free safety light for runners & walkers, which uses human motion to generate its power. Critically acclaimed, award winning and loved by thousands of runners worldwide, Million Mile Light, like Tom, is engineered to never give up!
'I love this. It's incredible' - Charlie Dark, Run Dem Crew
Tom has become an expert at using crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to secure funding for his projects and has raised over £250K to date.
The most recent fruit of Tom's imagination is his passion project, Uplift. In response to the national wave of pessimism surrounding the EU referendum and with his beloved Gran suffering from dementia, Tom sought to 'create the most beautiful thing he could conceive, manufacture it here in Britain and bring it to the world'. So he began working on the design of a solar powered kinetic sculpture that provides an effective mediation aid by gently encouraging you to unwind.
'Good for your mind and for the planet. It's like a lava lamp for the 21st century. Relax as you contemplate a more sustainable future' - Kickstarter HQ
Having handmade the first batch of 500 himself in his Malmesbury workshop, using more than 25,000 individually cut and assembled pieces of walnut, each finished with a nail file, Tom knows a thing or two about focus, attention to detail and working hard. The project won fans including billion dollar mindfulness App Calm.com and celebrities including Suzi Perry, Derren Brown and Matt Haig.
'It's mesmerising, inspiring, uplifting and beautifully designed' - Michael Acton Smith, Calm.com
Since launching the first version, Uplift's fan base has continued to grow so Tom founded Uplifting Products Ltd with his small team in the summer of 2019 to bring this relaxing innovation to a 'stressed out' world.
Tom asked his customers what they most wanted to see for Uplift 2.0 and the response was unanimous; something reminiscent of oceans waves, so Tom went to the beach looking for inspiration. There he found the same marine plastic problem all of us are staring at, but excited by the challenge he and UP Ltd sought to lead the world in the industrial processing and re-manufacture of waste fishing nets. Showcasing the incredible potential of this purified waste source.
Working in partnership with a specialist waste processing start up and the Cornish Hake Fisheries, manufacturing in Shropshire with final assembly in Malmesbury, this summer will see the launch of Uplift 2.0 - a solar sculpture to soothe your soul.
'Wowzer, Tom has done it again. Uplift 2.0 captures the essence of the regenerative future; she runs on sunlight, turns waste material in to timeless art and calms the spirit as she spins. Just beautiful!' - Kate Raworth, Renegade Economist and author of Doughnut Economics
The list of Tom's non-commercial inventions are endless - skateboard bikes, modified walking aids, honking handlebars and reinvented childhood classics - as is his creativity, resilience and genuine desire to do good. Restore your faith in humanity - go visit Tom in Malmesbury - or failing that, follow his lead, order yourself an Uplift, sit back, relax and day dream of something new.
The future world we will all live in is imagined today.
Speaking of imagination... it's like a light that can help you see clearly through the darkest times. Despite the challenges of 2020 Tom's mind shined even brighter allowing him to devote the necessary time he needed to put in to his latest creation, Wonder.
Wonder has already made it's debut, albeit withour fanfare and as an installation to be discovered by those who seek to be illuminated by optimisim and a new way of seeing the world.
Spring 2021 will see this work formally announced as it becomes a permanent installation enshrined in the chapel at Malmesbury Abbey before it adds to the product line up at Uplifting Products.